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News Detail


Aug, 2017

Severe Weather

Thunder and Lighting Storms
A lightning safety plan should be an integral part of the planning process for any outdoor event. Do not wait for storm clouds to develop before considering what to do should lightning threaten! An effective plan begins LONG before any lightning threat is realized.

The key to an effective lightning safety action plan lies in answers to the following questions:

1. Where is the safest lightning shelter?
2. How far is the group from that location?
3. How long will it take to get the group there?

Knowing the answers to these questions and formulating a plan of action accordingly is critical to reducing the chances of anyone being struck by lightning.

If a Region has a frequency of thunderstorms, then a safety policy should be posted on the Region’s Website, discussed in Safe Haven® courses, emphasized at all coach, referee and team parent orientation meetings and be contained in the Region Handbook distributed to participating families.

In tournament play or other special events, if there is a possibility of thunder and lightning storms, a pre-event meeting to assure that guidelines, safety procedures, duties and responsibilities are reviewed and clearly understood by all event staff and participants should be conducted. If this is not possible, then a communication plan should be incorporated to ensure this information is given to all participants and volunteers to ensure safe and orderly execution of emergency planning procedures.

Event officials will consult and determine the course of action – give the “all clear” sign for games to resume, cancel the balance of ongoing games or cancel games for the day. Event administrators, Regional Commissioners or their designees, including Coach Administrator, Referee Administrator or referees, will have the authority, as so designated, to delay the start of play, call a halt in play or suspend/terminate a game due to severe weather conditions.

Studies have shown that most people struck by lightning are struck not at the height of a thunderstorm, but before and after the storms have peaked. This is because lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining and many people are unaware of how far lightning can strike from its originating thunderstorm.

Recognizing the Danger – And Knowing What to Do

Many communities and parks systems have lightning detection and tornado warning systems in place as required by law. Obey the rules established at these facilities. When storm warning technology indicates severe weather danger, cease all field activities and seek shelter immediately.

1. Know how to use the warning systems in place and heed all warnings even if you are told there is a possibility of a false alarm.

2. When thunder is heard it is within striking distance. – seek shelter immediately. Do not wait for the rain to start before seeking shelter, and do not leave shelter just because the rain has ended. Enact the safety plan now!

3. Restart games after no thunder has been heard for 30 minutes, or if there is a warning system in place, the community ALL CLEAR SIREN has been sounded.

Distinguishing Between Safe and Unsafe Shelters

NOTE: Remember, the time when activities are stopped is the time when people BEGIN to seek shelter. Adequate time should be allowed for them to seek shelter safely. Only the most important items should be retrieved such as purses, baby bags, car keys, etc. Delays retrieving all personal belongings raise the risk of danger.

Safe Shelter Areas:

1. INSIDE a substantial building (roof AND completely enclosed walls) towards the middle of the building.

2. Except for tornadoes or hurricanes, INSIDE a fully enclosed metal vehicle with the windows completely closed.

Unsafe Shelter Areas:

1. Around or near all metal objects: goals, flag poles, fences, gates, high mast light poles, bleachers.

2. Around or near all trees, water, open fields, high ground.

3. Around, near or in small buildings, picnic shelters, concession stands, tents.

If Caught Out in the Open

NOTE: No place outside is safe when severe weather exists. Encourage all participants to seek shelter indoors.

1. AVOID groups of people. Spread out to reduce the risk. Shield children.

2. AVOID being the tallest object.

3. Seek cover in clumps of bushes. CROUCH down as low as possible and cover your head with your forearms; assist children as they will most often be frightened.

If Someone is Injured

1. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

2. If qualified to do so, apply CPR and First Aid, if necessary, until medical staff arrives.
All safety personnel should be educated on what and when to act or react in severe weather conditions.

NOTE: People who have been struck by lightning do not carry a charge and are safe to touch.

Ultimately the decision to PLAY or NOT PLAY lies with the parents and coaches. During a scheduled game, the referee can cancel play for ANY condition(s) that he/she deems unsafe for the kids, spectators or volunteers on the field.

Let's all work together to keep our kids safe.  When in doubt...cancel your practice.


Garry Hove
Lakeside AYSO Region 234
Regional Commissioner 

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Lakeside, California 92040

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